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THE   ART   OF   LIVING                   33!

had for breakfast or what Paoyii had at midnight. Cheng
Panch'iao apotheosized rice congee in his letter to his brother:

On cold days, when poor relatives or friends arrive, first
hand them a bowl of fried rice in boiling water, with a
small dish of ginger or pickles. It is the most effective means
of warming up old people and the poor. In your days of
leisure, swallow cakes made of broken rice, or cook "slip-
slop congee/' and hold the bowl between your two hands and
eat it with shrugged shoulders. On a cold frosty morning,
this will make your whole body warm. Alas! Alas! I think
Fll become a farmer for the remainder of my days!

The Chinese accept food as they accept sex, women and life
in general. No great English poet or writer would condescend
to write a Cook Book, which they regard as belonging outside
the realms of literature and worthy of the efforts of Aunt
Susan only. But the great poet-dramatist Li Liweng did not
consider it beneath his dignity to write about the cooking of
mushrooms and all kinds of vegetarian and non-vegetarian
foods. Another great poet and scholar, Yuan Mei, wrote a
whole book on cooking, besides writing a most wonderful essay
on his cook. He described his cook as Henry James described
the English butler, as a man carrying himself with dignity and
understanding in his profession. But H. G. Wells, who of all
English minds is the one most likely to write about English
food, evidently cannot write it, and no hope is to be expected
from the less encyclopaedic minds. Anatole France was the
type that might have left us some wonderful recipe for frying
calf's liver or cooking mushrooms, possibly in his intimate
letters, but I doubt very much whether he has left it as part of
his literary heritage.

Two principles distinguish Chinese from European cooking.
One is that we eat food for its textm, the elastic or crisp effect it
has on our teeth, as well for fragrance, flavour and colour. Li
Liweng said that he was a slave to crabs, because they had the
combination of fragrance, flavour and colour. The idea of
texture is seldom understood, but a great part of the popularity
of bamboo-shoots is due to the fine resistance the young shoots
give to our teeth The appreciation of bamboo-shoots ii